Your immunisation timetable

Health Visitor Anne Smith has spent 30 years helping parents and is a strong supporter of child immunisation. In this article, Anne explains the immunisation process and shows what to expect in an immunisation timetable.

Throughout the western world, immunisation programmes have saved millions of children's lives from the so-called childhood diseases.

The diseases from which they are being protected have not been eradicated, and they can return if an immunisation programme is interrupted – as shown by a measles epidemic that followed the recent MMR controversy in Dublin.

At times, concerns have been expressed over the number of diseases that a child is injected with during its first year of life. But in fact the vast majority of babies cope well with the current immunisation programme, with very few problems reported by parents.

When a baby is born it will automatically be added to the immunisation programme. A consent form will be signed during the new birth visit and any queries can be raised with your health visitor or GP before the first immunisation at two months.

UK routine childhood immunisation programme*

When to immunise Diseases protected against Vaccine given
Two months old Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), pneumococcal infection DtaP/IPIPV/Hib and Pneumacoccal conjugate vaccine (PCV)
Three months old Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and Haemophilus influenzae (Hib), Meningitis C (meningococcal group C) DtaP/IPV/Hib and MenC
Four months old Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and Hib Meningitis C, pneumococcal infection DtaP/IPV/Hib MenC and PCV
Around 12 months Haemophilus influenzae type b, (Hib) and Meningitis C Hib/MenC
Around 13 months Measles, mumps and rubella (German measles), Pneumococcal infection MMR and PCV
Three years four months to five years Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio, Measles, mumps and rubella DtaP/IPV or TaP/IPV and MMR
13 to 18 years old Tetanus, diphtheria and polio Td/IPV

Non-routine immunisations

When to immunise Diseases protected against Vaccine given
At birth (to babies who are more likely to come into contact with TB than the general population Tuberculosis BCG
At birth (to babies whose mothers are hepatitis B positive) Hepatitis B Hep B

Most babies will be slightly miserable and irritable for a few days after the injection, and this can be eased with a dose of paediatric paracetamol. For a baby of two months the dose should be 2.5ml, this can be given twice with a four hour interval between doses. For babies over three months, the dose can be 5ml. Aspirin should NEVER be given to a child under twelve years of age.

Some babies may experience a red swelling on the injection site which will become a hard, painless lump. On rare occasions a child may have an allergic reaction directly after immunisation, and this will be treated by a doctor at the immunisation session.

To protect the child’s immune system, it is essential that the vaccination be postponed if the child is unwell, suffering from infection or on antibiotics. You should also seek advice from your GP if your child has had a bad reaction to another immunisation; is having or has had treatment for cancer or another condition which affects the immune system; or has a severe allergy to eggs.

*NHS: A guide to childhood immunisations, August 2006

Related links


  • Immunisation - your questions answered. The Supernanny team looks at the issues behind immunisation
  • Crying Baby: The Supernanny website’s checklist helps you find out what’s wrong with your baby and gives some tried and tested ways to quieten him down.
  • Treating Burns and Scalds: The Parent Company explain what to do if your child is burnt, and answer some common questions about burn treatment.

Find out more

  • National Health Service (NHS) has an excellent immunisation website, with a range of Frequently Asked Questions for parents.  

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